It’s another first! As part of the blog tour for Christina Berry’s debut novel The Familiar Stranger, she’s answering questions for you guys and even giving away a copy of her book. (More on that in a minute.)
Single mother and foster parent, Christina Berry carves time to write from her busy schedule because she must tell the stories that haunt her every waking moment. (Such is the overly dramatic description of an author’s life!) She holds a BA in Literature, yet loves a good Calculus problem, as well. Her debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, released from Moody in September and deals with lies, secrets, and themes of forgiveness in a troubled marriage. A moving speaker and dynamic teacher, Christina strives to Live Transparently–Forgive Extravagantly!
Her work has also appeared in The Secret Place, The Oregonian, and Daily Devotions for Writers. Find her at www.christinaberry.net and www.authorchristinaberry.blogspot.com
Why do you write?
Because story ideas and lines fly around in my head and if I write them down, I get a little peace and quiet. ?
What made you start writing?
Buried deep within my closet, one might find some angst-filled poetry from my teenage years and a very spooky seven pages of the novel I started in high school. Though I was in love with the idea of being a writer, it wasn’t until I finished college and stayed home with my first child that I actually decided to write a book. Truthfully, my mom told me we were going to write one together, and being the obedient daughter I am …
What fun facts may surprise your readers about you?
I was the team captain and second answerer in the speed round for our family on Family Feud in 2000 … and we won! Also, I grew up in Nigeria, West Africa, while my parents were Southern Baptist missionaries. I remember being awed at the selection of toilet paper in the grocery store when we returned to the States.
Tell us about your latest book.
It’s my debut novel, The Familiar Stranger.
Craig Littleton’s decision to end his marriage would shock his wife, Denise . . . if she knew what he was up to. When an accident lands Craig in the ICU, with fuzzy memories of his own life and plans, Denise rushes to his side, ready to care for him.
They embark on a quest to help Craig remember who he is and, in the process, discover dark secrets. What will she do when she realizes he’s not the man she thought he was? Is this trauma a blessing in disguise, a chance for a fresh start? Or will his secrets destroy the life they built together?
How did you come up with the story?
In the summer of 2006, two stories appeared in the newspaper. One was a huge, national story; the other a smaller, local-interest item. I wondered what it might look like if those two stories conceived a child. Boom! I had the entire plot for The Familiar Stranger. It will be interesting to see if readers can figure out which stories inspired the book.
What surprised you about the publishing process after your novel was contracted?
I knew that titles were frequently changed for publication, but I didn’t expect the title to change before the contract was officially signed. Also, I knew that editors move from house to house fairly often in this industry, but I didn’t expect to lose my dream editor two days after signing the contract. (Hi, Andy!)
After getting over the shock of losing my editor, I was very surprised at how much Moody valued my input, how frequently they communicated with me, and how they lifted my family up in prayer. In fact, everyone from my editor to the marketing manager to the author liaison has been amazing!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
~Read craft books (I have a list of my favorites on the sidebar of my blog
~Join a critique group
~Attend writing conferences
~By open to criticism. One always has room to grow!
Many thanks to Christina for some great answers!
And now for the giveaways!
You can win a copy of The Familiar Stranger! Just leave a comment on this post and you are automatically entered to win one of twenty copies Christina is personally giving away! She’s going to draw ten names on her birthday September 30th and ten names at the end of her blog tour on October 31st.
But wait! There’s more! Christina is even giving away a chance to win a 4 GB iPod Shuffle OR free books for the life of her writing career if you sign up for her “infrequent, humorous” newsletter! Cruise over and check it out.
Want to buy the book?
Want to follow Christina to her next stop on the ‘net? Check out Deborah Vogts’s blog tomorrow!